WSOPC off to big start in Atlantic City

Harrah's Las Vegas

The World Series of Poker Circuit returned to action over the weekend with the start of the series at Harrah's Atlantic City.

Atlantic City, the East Coast gambling mecca, can be counted on for a great WSOPC series, and so far it's not disappointing this time around. The first event of the series drew the biggest playing field so far for an opening event at a WSOPC in Atlantic City, plus it was one of the largest first-day events in Circuit history.

The field for Event 2 was a bit smaller, but no less exciting, and both events ended up with players battling for more than $300,000 in the prize pools.

Event 1, $340 No-Limit Hold'em

The first installment of the series was a $340 No-Limit Hold'em event that started on Saturday. With 1,181 players taking to the felt, there was a $354,300 prize pool on the line.

It took nearly 24 hours of play spread over two days to come down to a winner. Plus, 90 minutes of that was heads-up action that saw Metin Guven Esen, a 48-year-old native of Turkey now living in New York, battle against Raymond Rossi Jr., a 21-year-old student.

Down 2-1 at one point, it wasn't looking good for Esen. It didn't help that he was playing on only a couple hours of sleep because he couldn't get a room the night before.

However, Esen started to turn things around, and eventually he was able to pull out the win. After some near misses with Rossi just barely staying alive, the final hand finally came when Rossi moved in with pocket treys.

Esen said, "Let's gamble," and made the call with T 8. When the flop came 9 8 9, Esen had the lead, and a K and 5 kept him there.

For his win, the recreational tournament player picked up $85,032. Rossi earned $47,848 for his second-place finish.

The final-table results were:

Player Name Hometown Prize
1st Metin Guven Esen Wading River, N.Y. $85,032
2nd Raymond Rossi Jr. Philadelphia $47,848
3rd Peter Becchina Philadelphia $28,344
4th Mike Rodriquez New York, N.Y. $24,801
5th Ross Shapiro Bethesda, Md. $21,258
6th Mina Akladious Lake Worth, Fla. $17,715
7th John Phatt Newark, N.J. $14,172
8th Robert Wing Jacksonville Beach, Fla. $10,619
9th Vincent Basilicata Queens, N.Y. $7,086

Event 2, $560 No-Limit Hold'em

The second event on the weekend was also a No-Limit Hold'em event, but this time with a $560 buy-in. With 617 players turning up to play, they were looking at a $308,500 prize pool.

The biggest benefactor of that prize was Emil Lebovich, a 21-year-old full-time poker player. He took down the event for an $86,380 payday, his biggest win so far.

It wasn't much of a battle for Lebovich once he got down to heads-up play against Peter Fianu. Lebovish had about $4 million in chips to about $1 million for Fianu, giving him a dominant lead.

The two players didn't do much for the first few hands, and finally Fianu tried an all-in move with 7 6. Lebovich called with A-7.

The board came 8-Q-3-3-K, giving Lebovish the hand and the win. Second place was still fairly kind to Fianu, paying him $44,733.

The final-table results were:

Place Name Hometown Prize
1st Emil Lebovich Fair Lawn, N.J. $86,380
2nd Peter Fianu Baltimore $44,733
3rd Doug Pitchford Plainsboro, N.J. $24,680
4th Tim B Atlanta $21,595
5th Abraham Korotki Ventnor, N.J. $18,510
6th Jimmy Nunez Winthrop, Mass. $15,425
7th Larry Roberts White Plains, N.Y. $12,340
8th Alex Gomez Brooklyn, N.Y. $9,255
9th Jonas Wexler Southampton, Pa. $6,170

The WSOPC continues with events through the week leading into the main event next week. We'll continue to bring you updates from the preliminary events, and next week you can check out our live coverage of the main event in the Live Tournaments section.


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